Plans are underway to give people living with HIV and Aids a six months’ supply of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) protect them from contracting the coronavirus Covid-19 through regular visits to health centres to stock up.
The plan is being worked on by the National Aids Council (NAC) and partners.
This comes in the wake of scaled-up support from the PEPFAR Zimbabwe programme sponsored by the United States.
Scientists have managed to prove that the novel coronavirus is claiming the lives of people who have underlying health conditions such as HIV.
NAC communications officer Mrs Tadiwa Nyatanga-Pfupa said it was also in the best interest of HIV clients to collect the drugs in large quantities to enable them to save on transport costs and user fees.
“The National Aids Council and its partners have been communicating that people on ART can collect a minimum of three months and a maximum of six months supplies of ARVs,” she said.
PEPFAR Zimbabwe reportedly plans to scale up clinical services, particularly by targeting various groups of people vulnerable to HIV and Aids.
The aid agency will soon roll out an electronic health record system.
“Zimbabwe will also focus on the development and roll-out of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system,” said US Embassy spokesperson Mr Sizani Weza.
“The EHR captures patient demographics, registers services provided and monitors the follow-up of patients with conditions such as HIV and Aids and TB.
“EHR will help build sustainability into current programmes.
“The country will continue to move clients from three to six month dispensing of antiretroviral medications, a strategy to keep HIV-infected clients healthy and away from crowded clinics during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
PEPFAR Zimbabwe is presently investing in a comprehensive package for HIV treatment and prevention in 44 districts in the country.
About 1,2 million people living with HIV and Aids in its next fiscal year are being targeted.
“A prevention programme for adolescent girls and young women called DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, Empowered, AIDS-Free, Mentored and Safe) will expand from six districts to 16 and will reach over 160 000 girls and young women,” Mr Weza said.
“DREAMS beneficiaries will receive HIV prevention packages that include pre-and post-exposure prophylaxis.”
PEPFAR Zimbabwe is also collaborating with the Global Fund in its support to people living with HIV and Aids in the country.
The PEPFAR Zimbabwe programme is this year channelling US$230 million towards the country’s HIV and Aids initiatives.